Nighttime Arcs Visible from Dark Skies

June 05, 2017

Zodiacal LightEPOD (1)

Photographer: Ondrej Kralik
Summary Authors: Ondrej Kralik; Jim Foster

June 2017 Viewer's ChoiceDuring spring evenings in the Northern Hemisphere, the arc of the zodiacal light is fairly easy to see, providing you have a dark sky overhead. Look for it about 90 minutes after sunset. It's seen in the panorama above, taken from the mountains of Slovakia, as a bright band at lower right center. Note that it's enhanced here by a 15-second exposure. The brighter arc at right center is the Milky Way. The zodiacal light is sunlight scattered by dust particles in the orbits of comets. It can be followed here as a faint arc stretching all the way to the left center of the image, fading just above Jupiter, rising in the eastern sky. At the peak of this arc is a brighter patch known as the gegenschein -- the counterglow. It's highest in the sky and therefore somewhat easier to detect around midnight.

At right center, Venus can be seen just above the brightest part of the zodiacal light and below the arch of the Milky Way. Photo taken from Chopok peak (6,640 ft or 2024 m), on March 29, 2017.

Photo Details: Canon 6D camera; Samyang 24 mm lens, f1.4@f2.8; ISO 6400; 15-second exposure; panorama consists of 57 shots.